Top Spelling Blunders Part III

A Little Practice Will Take Your Efforts a Long Way

Your ability to communicate with your audience will give your credibility an incredible boost, strengthen your efforts online and offline, as well as afford you the freedom to concentrate your energy elsewhere.

A critical piece of communication is using correct spelling and good grammar. This will ensure you maintain your reader’s attention on you and your topic.

You may consider investing in a spellchecker, finding a proofreader, or enrolling in an English Grammar course. Whatever you choose to do, you can rely on getting spelling and grammar tips right here.

So let’s get to it: Here are your next 5 spelling blunders to include in your proofreading checklist to strengthen your article writing skills.

Seperate vs. Separate

If you are desperate to distance yourself from the “seperate” blunder, break down the word separate to find its meaning.

Se-para-te: apart from – to one side of – te (Correct)
Se-per-ate: apart from – through/during/each – ate (Incorrect)

Example: I separate my pens from my pencils.

Key: Separate your parakeets.

Indispensible vs. Indispensable

To ible or able, that is the question. They have incredible similarities, but which is usable? If you want to make yourself indispensable to your readers, our biggest recommendation to solving this one quandary: Grab a dictionary. Through use and practice, eventually ible and able will become second nature.

Example: Your insight is indispensable.

Key: Gables are indispensable.

Occuring vs. Occurring

This little suffix can trip everyone up: ing. The confusion here is rooted in words ending in ing that require an additional letter or an omission of a letter to complete the word. For example: write and writing, run and running, occur and occurring, etc.

Example: Prevent errors from occurring.

Key: Double the R in occurring.

Recieve vs. Receive

The dreaded ie vs. ei! You may have heard this phrase: “I” before “E” except after “C”. This is a fairly good guideline to stick by, but there are always exceptions. Consult your dictionary if you are not sure.

Example: You will receive a gift!

Key: “I” before “E” except after “C” = Re-C-EI-ve.

Ghandi vs. Gandhi

This prominent figure is the first name to make it to our lists: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a.k.a. Mahatma Gandhi.

Why is Gandhi’s name spelled incorrectly? This may be due to the similar sounds ga and gha (e.g. Ghana, gander, and Gandhi).

Example: Gandhi pioneered the use of non-violent resistance.

Key: Take a gander at Gandhi and you will see freedom.

Be like Gandhi: Become indispensable! Separate yourself from the crowd and prevent spelling blunders from occurring to receive tons of credibility!

Gandhi said “an ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

We will always provide you with tons of spelling and grammar tips, but it is up to you to put them into practice! Not only will you strengthen your ability to communicate with your audience by practicing, you will gain the freedom you need to concentrate your efforts elsewhere.

We will have another installment of spelling blunders over the next few weeks and soon we’ll begin tackling usage errors. Keep an eye out for our spelling and grammar keys to ensure your articles are error free. Doing so will increase your credibility and drive more traffic to your blog or website!

Did you miss our last edition of Top Spelling Blunders? Check it out here!


paban writes:

I loved to read this post. Thanks for sharing this article with us!

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 9:46 AM



I would say that I’m guilty of spelling Gandhi incorrectly. Guess I was spelling it phonetically like in the picture of the stamp.

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 10:41 AM


coyotech writes:

This time you caught the ones that catch me, even though I’m a native English speaker and a decent speller. Looking at that stamp, you can see you never get so good at writing that you can take spelling for granted :-)

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 10:48 AM



Great post! This one was quite indispensable!

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 11:21 AM


jurgen wolff writes:

One I see more and more often: sneak peak (which is OK if it’s a duplicitous mountain, otherwise it should be sneak peek).

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 2:36 PM


Richard Breheny writes:

I love this article and look forward to part iv.

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM


Guy Blews writes:

I noticed in the article above that you missed a word, which amused me as you are always advising us to check what we submit… See below for the error –

Example: Gandhi pioneered the use non-violent resistance.

Did you see it?

Yes, you missed the ‘of’

The pupil becomes the teacher!

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 2:56 PM


Guy –

Good catch! I wish I could say that we intentionally put at least one spelling or grammatical error in each of these posts just to see if anybody will find it, but that’s not the case. That was indeed a genuine mistake. You’ll note that we’ve now fixed it in the post. Thanks for calling it to our attention. :-)

– Marc


Susan VonAchen writes:

You caught me a few times. They were great!
This one always bugged me when spelled incorrectly: old-fashion as in
old-fashion rootbeer.
It’s old-fashioned isn’t it!!!

I’m sure there’s tons more that I cannot think of now. Have a good weekend.

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 2:57 PM


Doug writes:

Is it just me, or was the improper use of the word ‘practice’ in the title intentional?
I ask this because ‘practice’ is a noun, such as going to the doctor’s practice for a checkup. However, ‘practise’ is a verb, such as i think i need to practise my spelling. Therefore, I find it ironic that the title has a grammatical error in it! Who edits these articles anyway?
Anyone else pick this up?


Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 4:03 PM


Doug –

What you pointed out isn’t an error, it’s a difference in spelling between your Australian English and our American English. For folks in the U.S., both the noun and the verb are spelled with a “c”. Since we’re based in the U.S., we go with the American spelling.

– Marc


Dee writes:

Hi Penny
Dispatch and despatch, leek and leak, warn and worn, affect and effect are some I come across regularly.

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 4:19 PM


John Davies writes:

The most common email spelling error is the use of “loose” when the writer meant “lose”.
Many people don’t seem to understand that if something is “loose” it has to be caught or tightened.

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 4:20 PM


coyotech writes:

Yes, I think “practise” is common across the UK, but “practice” in the US. I’d be curious if Canadians practice US spelling, or if they practise UK spelling.

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 4:49 PM



Spelling mistakes like there and they’re are common as well. Glad to see this great article.

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 4:51 PM


Richard Breheny writes:

Spelling is one thing that interesting on the different spellings. But I have really been caught out with misinterpretation of english Between England, Australia, USA and Ireland.

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 5:35 PM



I am getting much benefit from your grammar and spelling tips. The practical use of using the correct spelling in sentences is helpful. A couple of lessons ago I recall you mentioned one that I have known about for a few years ago.

A lot is a piece of land. I just substitute the word ‘much’ when tempted to write ‘a lot’. One tip I look forward to is where the correct place is to leave parenthesis.

Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 10:05 PM


Rick Clark writes:

It seems like kids today use certain basic words interchangeably: your vs. you’re and they’re, their and there.
Correct usage: “They’re with their friends over there.”


Comment provided January 27, 2012 at 10:11 PM


Terence writes:

Spellung and grammar error is big problem for most of the authors oot there, thanks for the presence of the spell checker and others.

Comment provided January 28, 2012 at 1:35 AM


Kieran Gracie writes:

I love this series on spelling and grammar. Please keep it going as long as possible.

One spelling that I am always nervous about – ‘into’ versus ‘in to’. For some reason buried in my dim distant school days, I seem to remember that ‘into’ was frowned upon, rather like ‘almost’ and ‘nice’. Anybody care to comment?

Comment provided January 28, 2012 at 6:47 AM


Barrie writes:

Both ‘in to’ and ‘into’ are correct in the right situation. If ‘into’ modifies the preceding verb then ‘in to’ should be used.

“The magician turned the mouse into a rabbit” is OK.

“I called in to say hello” is also OK as you are not changing ‘called’ into ‘say’.


Jon writes:

I always use to make mistake on followings Indispensible vs. Indispensable and Seperate vs. Separate. From now i will keep this tip in mind to make my articles error-less.

Comment provided January 28, 2012 at 7:36 AM


Mark writes:

“Separate” caught me in an 8th grade spelling contest.

The way I remember? There is always “a rat” in separate.

Good post.

Comment provided January 28, 2012 at 7:57 AM


Mark writes:

Just noticed the stamp- are you suggesting that the stamp (Ghandi) is spelled incorrectly??

Comment provided January 28, 2012 at 7:59 AM


Mark –

Good eye! Actually, the photo of that stamp was altered intentionally by our in-house graphic artist to illustrate the point of the post. The original stamp was spelled correctly.

– Marc


Linda Hunt writes:

I get annoyed when people write till/’till as short for ’til, until
Also when people misspell embarrassed or ‘address’.
When people say ‘reduce down’, ‘raise/rise’ up’ or ‘reverse backwards’!

Comment provided January 28, 2012 at 8:22 AM


ved writes:

Spelling mistake is a common habit for a non english speaking countries and due to computer use now a days people are use to it. So they don’t take effort to remember spellings

Comment provided January 29, 2012 at 9:41 AM


Barrie writes:

As a native UK English user, it always makes me cringe when I see the mis-use of the words ‘then’ and ‘than’.

Although these errors can be seen occasionally from English speaking posters in the UK and AUS, in 99% of all cases, the culprit is from the USA.

It is now so widespread that I’m beginning to think that schools in the USA don’t actually distinguish between the two words and they actually think that “he can run faster then me” is grammatically correct.

I find it so irritating because using the wrong one can completely change the meaning of the sentence and for me, makes reading tiresome as it interrupts the flow – especially when you have to stop and re-read a nonsensical line.

End of rant! :)

Comment provided January 29, 2012 at 1:19 PM


Vijay Khosla writes:

Can any one clarify the following?

Once the ‘Plural’ of the word ‘Thief’ is ‘Thieves’ then why the plural of ‘Chief’ is not ‘Chieves’ but ‘Chiefs’?

Any good guesses?

Comment provided January 29, 2012 at 2:20 PM


coyotech writes:

Because English is an irregular language.


Shazia Yousuf writes:

I looked your question up and here is a fairly sensible but not very convincing answer:


Robyn Walter writes:

Thanks for another interesting read. I find it useful to keep a thesaurus open when I’m writing as I like to spell check as I go. When using word or open office spell checks it always give US results, & I tend to adjust to suit the audience I’m writing to, for instance realize or realise

Comment provided January 30, 2012 at 2:12 AM


Shazia Yousuf writes:

This series of articles is simply perfect! I really love sharing it with my friends and they love it always.

Keep such posts coming :)

Comment provided January 30, 2012 at 3:49 AM


Vijay Khosla writes:

Hi Shazia,

Your hint to my question on the plural of ‘Chief’ is a good one. I liked it.

Thanks and a salute to your efforts!

Vijay Khosla

Comment provided January 30, 2012 at 1:42 PM


sds writes:

Grammar is an big problem for bloggers…

Comment provided January 31, 2012 at 10:14 PM


Iuli Mai writes:

Another spelling mistakes that I find very often is the confusion between it’s and its.

Comment provided February 9, 2012 at 12:45 AM


Kern Lewis writes:

This is a wonderful series, although I think you are speaking to the already-converted!
The biggest errors I see are adverbial. That is, adjectives masquerading as adverbs (good vs. well, deep vs. deeply, ‘come cheap’ vs. ‘come cheaply,’ etc.)
Spell-check catches none of those, so off they go into the world!
And don’t get me started on the abuse of “myself!”

Comment provided February 10, 2012 at 12:17 PM


John writes:

I am always curious to know spelling blunders like this. Moreover, I am a believer to learn new things everyday and life is a learning process. Thanks Penny for increasing my knowledge.

Comment provided March 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM



You missed so many……………
queried vs querried
grammar vs grammer
pelmet vs pellmet
tariff vs tarriff
sheriff vs sherriff
necessary vs neccesary
eerie vs eery
appalled vs appaled/apalled
accommodate vs accomodate
garrulous vs garrullous/garrulus
appearance vs appearrance/appearence
dependent vs dependant
grateful vs greatful
(vehicle) brakes vs breaks


Comment provided November 1, 2012 at 2:44 AM


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